12 April 2007

Improving Idol Voting

Idol voting most likely doesn't need improving, but some folks seem to think so.

A simple reform would be to have each contestant have two numbers flashed beneath their name each week.

One number, would be for folks voting FOR the contestant.
A second number, would be for folks voting AGAINST the contestant.

The positive votes would count +2, the negatives would count -1.

A person like Sanjaya, who polarizes fans, would have a higher bar set for continuing on the show, while a contestant who is solid and broadly popular would enjoy more relative success compared to a marginal singer/performer with a small but rabid fan base.

Seems like the eventual winner in a system like this would also be more likely to build a lasting career.

There are plenty of polarizing figures in pop music, though, so even if Sanjaya were to win it all, they could probably build product around him, at least for a little while.

The "vote for the worst" crowd have pulled a bit of a fast one this year. Vocally wise, Sanjaya mostly sucks, but as a performer he has charisma and strong appeal to a key demographic that cares about this kind of crap. The Stern-ites can claim they've influenced the weekly outcomes all they want, but most likely, it's the little girls obsessing about how much they love a sexually ambiguous kid who are pushing his votes.

The history of Idol shows that having a penis that young women feel has a credible possibility of being used is dangerous. Of the guys who've made it far on the show, only Bo Bice could be said to have been broadly sexually enticing/threatening.

First season, Justin gets farthest, and though attractive, his attraction is a very unthreatening kind of attractiveness. Second season was Ruben v Clay, and even though Ruben was a big huge black man, he was an asexual teddy bear, and Clay, well yeah. Season Three no guys made it too far. Season Four, was the exception that proves the rule. Bo Bice not only had a penis, but he seemed certain to be willing to use it. He seemed to be the first male performer to succeed in Idol appealing to sexually mature women more so than appealing to pre-teens. In the run-up to his showdown with Carrie, it was pretty clear that it was the moms pushing the vote on Bo. Last season, Taylor has about all the sexuality of Elmo (the tickle-me variety), his success is utterly inexplicable from a sex appeal standpoint.

This season, Blake has to be one of the favorites, he stradles the line between penis-ful and penis-less appeal. Sanjaya on the other hand is utterly and totally penis-less, and that's why he makes the young girls cry. Phil and Chris aren't sticking around much longer, so no use talking about them.

If Sanjaya somehow wins it all, there will be many folks who'll go crazy, but should that happen, it will be because he has a strong appeal to a rabid fanbase and he'll just be another in a long line of sexually ambiguous/unthreatening male performers who preteen girls find appealing (until they grow up and realize that guys with penises are preferable).

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